Thailand Scams

Common Bangkok Scams To Watch Out For

Thinking about visiting Bangkok, ensure you don’t get scammed out of hundreds of pounds! We know a thing or two about scams in Bangkok and unfortunately, we fell prey to a couple we wished we’d known about them beforehand so we didn’t get into that situation.

Bangkok is one of the busiest places we’ve ever travelled to, one thing we found was that we stuck out amongst the locals, which wasn’t always a good thing. Bangkok tourist scams are rife and there’s no point looking to the police for help when they are one of the biggest scammers to watch out for.

If you’re visiting the area make sure you brush up on the different Bangkok scams and Thailand scams that you might encounter.

Common Scams In Thailand

I’m using Thailand and Bangkok as the same place. Bangkok is in Thailand, in fact, Bangkok is the capital city of Thailand and it is the most visited city by tourists. Thailand tourist scams are something that holidaymakers will have to keep an eye out for but they also exist in Bangkok as a whole.

With the scams in Bangkok, you need to make sure you stay calm, especially as there may be a language barrier, which is something that got in the way when we tried to diffuse a certain situation on our holiday, which leads us to the first scam, the taxi scam.

Bangkok scams

Bangkok Taxi Scam

This is a scam we came across first hand and it was scary. We got a taxi to a nearby attraction where we spent 6 hours, enjoying the whole day. We paid the taxi driver and went in which most people would. When we left the same taxi driver was there, he spotted us and took us back to the hotel.

He then tried to charge us for the entire time we were out along with the hour journey back to the hotel. At first, we were shocked, the hotel staff got us inside as the taxi driver was shouting at us and threatening us and it was a very hostile situation.

We got told after the Taxi left that this was a common Bangkok taxi scam. The taxi driver will either stay at that attraction and get other customers and if they spot someone they have dropped off they will try the scam, sometimes it works and other times it doesn’t. I think he was trying to charge us close to £200 in total and thankfully we had the staff at the hotel to help us.

If possible get the staff at your accommodation to explain to the driver that it is just one way, you will not be requiring anything else. We used a taxi several times in Bangkok and we only had this issue once. However, this is one of the most common scams in Thailand.

Side note – always make sure the meter is on!

The Bangkok Police Scam

When it comes to Bangkok tourist scams, this has to be the worst. The police in Thailand are running their own scam, especially for tourists and you better hope it doesn’t happen to you like it did with us. We went to a local park, got some street food and had a nice walk. When we left the park we got stopped by a police officer and this is how the scam works.

They told us that we littered, which we didn’t. They then showed us a card saying we had to pay a fine which equalled £250 per person. We asked what we dropped and they said it didn’t matter, we said we can go back and pick it up (knowing it didn’t exist) they said no. When we said we don’t have that much money the police officer simply told us that he’d take everything we have with us or he would arrest us.

We ended up giving the police officer £180 and he went on his way. There was never any litter, however, how do you fight with a police officer in a foreign country? They are very prepared, they have their laminated cards in a number of languages that they will show you and they will take anything you have.

There isn’t much you can do with this scam I’m afraid. Try not to carry too much money with you in case they get you to empty your wallets like we did and if you know Thai you may be able to get out of the situation. When it comes to Bangkok scams, it’s one of the worst that’s for sure.

Bangkok Tuk Tuk Scams

There are three Thailand Tuk Tuk scams you need to be on the lookout for. My suggestion, however, is don’t use one! We avoided them like the plague!

  1. Stopping at random destinations. Some Tuk Tuk drives are paid a commission by shop owners to make sure you stop at their establishment. The Tuk Tuk driver will stop at these venues and insist that you “take a look” before they drive anywhere else, they might convince you that they need a break and they took you somewhere while they rest. It doesn’t matter what they say, don’t fall for it.
  2. Shop Stops & Detours. In addition to them getting you to go into various shops or taking you on a detour to confuse you, they will pretty much force you into restaurants to eat which most people will feel compelled to do. These restaurants will normally pay the Tuk Tuk drivers 20-30 percent commission so you know your bill will be high!
  3. PRICES! If you do decide that you want to get a Tuk Tuk, make sure you agree with a price. You’ll notice the meter either doesn’t exist or it isn’t turned on, this is so they can overcharge you a lot! It’s one of the most common Tuk Tuk scams in Bangkok so don’t be fooled!
Bangkok Tuk Tuk scams

The Tailor Scam

Everyone knows that Thailand used to be cheap for suits, not so much anymore. If a Tuk Tuk driver or a “friendly pedestrian” tries to get you to go to a suit shop, don’t. They’ll be overpriced and before you know it you’ll be forced into buying a suit.

Thailand isn’t as cheap as tourists think to buy suits anymore and with the rising costs being a global thing, this Thailand scam is becoming more and more popular with suit businesses in Bangkok.

Thailand Theft Scam

Theft is a problem across the globe but you can bet it features in our Bangkok tourist scams list for a reason, one that almost caught up with us!

If you go to a busy market make sure you secure your bags, people will either try to steal them or go through them when you’re distracted. A few stall holders will get your attention while someone tries to get your valuables. Never leave things in your pocket and if possible, lock your bag!

If you do decide to get a Tuk Tuk, we wouldn’t advise it, take close care of your bag, hold on to it and don’t let it off your person otherwise the Tuk Tuk may slow down just long enough for someone to steal your bag. The Tuk Tuk driver will then throw you off as you can’t pay them.

Animal Food Scam

There is a large population of stray dogs and cats in Bangkok which means there’s an opportunity to be scammed which has to be one of the worst kind of Thailand scams!

You’ll come across someone feeding animals and they’ll offer you some food to feed them, as soon as you take some and feed the animals they’ll charge you for the food you took, of course a handful of dog food will cost you around £30 so stay clear of that!

Helpful Pedestrians

This is one of the Thailand tourist scams that I hate the most, preying on the good nature of people but then a scam isn’t nice anyway you look at it.

At some point of your holiday you’ll have a helpful pedestrian as we call them try and help you, they’re not helping. They’ll tell you that the destination you want to go to is closed and suggest another which won’t be as nice but it’ll cost you more! They might even recommend an amazing restaurant which you will be overpriced at and they’ll take a commission.

The worst kind are helpful pedestrians that might just seem nice but they’ll distract you while someone moves in to rob you blind and before you know it, you’re left by yourself and without any of your valuables.

If someone seems a little too nice, take it with a pinch of salt, hold on to your belongings and be prepared to be very polite when saying no thanks.

Ping Pong Show Scams

So we never went to a ping pong show, not our cup of tea! However, this is one of the most common scams in Thaliand for nightlife tourists.

Someone will try and sell you a ticket and tell you that everything is included. Then when you get inside you’ll find out that your ticket was just for entry and you have to now pay for individual shows and overpriced drinks.

A lot of places will not let you leave until you buy something and can get quite intimidating, so only go in if you’re prepared to spend a lot!

LGBTQ+ Bangkok Tourist Scam

This one sucks. When it comes to Thailand tourist scams, this one targets the gays. LGBTQ+ rights are a little behind in Bangkok and that’s why you won’t find much of a gay tourist scene in Bangkok.

If you’re looking to visit an LGBTQ+ designated area in Bangkok, have the taxi drop you off down the road so you can walk there. Otherwise, you might get overpriced or even thrown out of the taxi mid-journey because homophobia is still rife in Bangkok.

Also, if you’re going solo be careful. A lot of people are there to steal everything you have, they might try and drug your drink or stay close to you all night until they can rob you. Only take out what you need and never leave anything you own or your drinks unattended.

Hotel Deposit Scam

I’m not sure if this can be called a scam but it’s something that happens from huge hotel chains all the way to hostels.

When you get your reservation online you’ll get told everything you have to pay, sometimes there is city tax which everyone should know about and that’s fine. However, when you go to your hotel you’ll find that the city tax isn’t the only thing.

In this Bangkok tourist scam you’ll be expected to pay a safety deposit, this means you’ll get charged the cost of room per night that you’ve already paid again, they call this a safety deposit so if you break anything, you’ll be charged and depending on your hotel you might find things start breaking and then you lose your money.

Take all your booking information and if it says anywhere that you don’t have to pay anything extra or if you only have to pay the city tax, make that aware and if possible get the provider you booked your hotel through on the phone to sort it out.

We would suggest booking through a company such as or so that you’re better protected against this sort of thing and always pay on a credit card if booking direct so you can easily claim your money back in the worst case.

Bangkok Tourist Scams

Getting scammed on holiday is never fun but hopefully, this post has helped you to avoid the majority of scams. We hope this list of Thailand scams has helped, let us know if there are any we may have left off the list and we’ll see about adding them.

Although we had a great time in Bangkok we did find that it was a little overpriced and we probably won’t be going back any time soon which is a big shame. With the amount of Bangkok scams around you always have to be on your guard and we prefer to go places like Orlando or Amsterdam where there are less scams to fall for.

Common Scams In Thailand Pinterest

Most common Bangkok tourist traps

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